Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

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Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.JPG
LocationDarwin, NT, Australia
FounderColin Jack-Hinton
DirectorMarcus Schutenko

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is the main museum in the Northern Territory. The museum is located in the inner Darwin suburb of Fannie Bay. The MAGNT is governed by the Board of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and is supported by the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Foundation. Each year the MAGNT presents both internally developed exhibitions and travelling exhibitions from around Australia. It is also the home of the annual Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Australia's longest running Indigenous art prize.


In 1964 a bill was introduced into the Northern Territory Legislative Council to start a museum in Darwin by making the Museums and Art Galleries Board of the Northern Territory.[1] The first director, Dr. Colin Jack-Hinton, was appointed in 1970. The Old Town Hall in Smith Street in Darwin's CBD was chosen as the Museum's first location. The museum contained Southeast Asian and Pacific culture, maritime history, natural sciences, Indigenous culture and contemporary art. Before Cyclone Tracy in 1974 the Old Town Hall was almost complete from renovations. The cyclone caused major structural damage to the building and a portion of the art collections were damaged. The salvaged collections were put in rented space scattered around Darwin.

On 1 July 2014, the MAGNT became an independent statutory body.[2]


Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Darwin[edit]

It was not until three years after Cyclone Tracy that in 1977 the Commonwealth Government approved construction of a new museum at Bullocky Point in the suburb of Fannie Bay. Construction commenced on the new museum in 1979 after the Northern Territory was granted self-government, and funding for the new building was confirmed.

The building was opened on 10 September 1981 by the Governor General of Australia and was known as the Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences. The museum featured the history, science and visual art of the region and its people. An extension was built and completed in 1992 to display the Northern Territory's maritime history. In 1993 the name of the museum was changed to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

Fannie Bay Gaol[edit]

The MAGNT manages Fannie Bay Gaol, a historic gaol in the coastal suburb of Fannie Bay in Darwin.

Defence of Darwin Experience[edit]

The Defence of Darwin Experience at East Point in Darwin is run by the Darwin Military Museum and managed by MAGNT. It tells the story of the Northern Territory's World War II history, in particular the Bombing of Darwin in 1942, through interactive multimedia displays. It opened ahead of the 60th commemoration of the bombing in February 2012 and cost $10 million.[3]

Museum of Central Australia and Strehlow Research Centre[edit]

The MAGNT manages the Museum of Central Australia and Strehlow Research Centre at the Araluen Arts Precinct in Alice Springs.

The Chan Building[edit]

On 16 June 2015, the Northern Territory Government announced plans to refurbish the historic Chan Building in the centre of Darwin, as a world-class visual arts museum to be managed by the MAGNT.[4] The refurbishment which is expected to cost $18.3 million. The redevelopment has been controversial due to increasing costs and government approval processes.[5]


The Territory's art collection consists of over 30,000 items of art and material culture.[6] Famous exhibits include the body of Sweetheart, a crocodile notorious for attacking boats.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  2. ^ "NORTHERN TERRITORY OF AUSTRALIA MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY ACT 2013". Australasian Legal Information Institute. University of Technology Sydney and University of New South Wales Faculties of Law. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  3. ^ Rawlinson, Clare (18 February 2012). "History no longer silenced as Defence of Darwin Experience opens". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 105.7 ABC Darwin. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Repurposing the Chan". Northern Territory Government. Northern Territory Website. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  5. ^ Zillman, Stephanie; Dias, Avani. "Chan building redevelopment: Architect raises concerns about cost, design". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Collection". Retrieved 23 February 2008.

Coordinates: 12°26′15.12″S 130°49′59.22″E / 12.4375333°S 130.8331167°E / -12.4375333; 130.8331167